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ralflar

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The UPS tracking info reveals: my new amps and pre-amp will be delivered tomorrow.

I am going to try Hypex Universal Class D i.e. a switching amp with a linear power supplier. No bulk and no heat features of Class D both are desirable features in my book. OTOH, the ICEpower modules appear to exhibit most undesirable vices such as DC offset and RFI. This forum's own Joey did not like Rotel's new 1092 ICEpower amp's sound signature.

So I ended up ordering a pair of Channel Islands Audio D-200 mono blocks.


Here is a photo of its insides.

As you can see, the part count is small. Very simple. (Profit must be inversely proportional :).) Consequently I chose a passive attenuator as "pre-amp", the Channel Islands Audio VPC-2.


Dave (twich54) once said there'd be a sonic signature out there with my name on it. I am eager to find out if the CI Audio gear will answer to that description. I can return it within 30 days but I would much rather prefer to keep it. And I sure hope the UPS man shows up early tomorrow!
 

Jeff Zaret

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ralflar,

The Absolute Sound has awarded our D•200 Monoblocks with a 2006 Editors' Choice Award in the October 06 Issue. Here is a link that you may find interesting. http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php?board=49.0

Dusty is the moderator of that link and he is the owner of Channel Isalnds Audio as well as the the designer.

I own their DAC VDA-2 and so far it is fabulous and worth the money. He sells direct to the customer and when you call he, Dusty, usually answers the phone. :D

Jeff :cool:
 

edwinr

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It will be interesting to 'see' how they sound. The component count is certainly minimal.
 

twich54

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ralflar said:
The UPS tracking info reveals: my new amps and pre-amp will be delivered tomorrow.

Dave (twich54) once said there'd be a sonic signature out there with my name on it. I am eager to find out if the CI Audio gear will answer to that description. I can return it within 30 days but I would much rather prefer to keep it. And I sure hope the UPS man shows up early tomorrow!

Ahhhhhhhhh Christmas in Sept, good luck !!!
 

ralflar

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Jeff,

I must have read every review of D-200s and D-100s out there :). There is only a handfull of them, really, and all are remarkably positive. The CIAudio forum at AudioCircles was another good find; I must have read most threads there. Noteworthy: the lack of problem reports.

When I called to order, it was indeed Dusty who took the call. Before then we had exchanged a couple of emails in which he answered my questions. His replies were always quick. They were also informative and complete which is something I cannot say about the replies I got from other companies I had been in touch with.

All that inspires confidence.

Now I have to wait and hear how his kit sounds. The amps have been connected to power for less than 3 hours, so it is too early to tell.
 

ralflar

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Edwin,

It is too early to draw conclusions because the amps have been powered up for only such as short time. Whatever, I am now playing the fantastic The Duke meets the Earl which has some very sweet Hammond and guitar sections. My study is next to the living room were the music is, and the volume is low. Even so, I have been dragged away from my computer several times while that album played :).

First impressions: the amps do not "sound" very different from the Yammy RX-V1600 receiver, only better: control, impact, resolution especially of the upper frequencies especially with SACDs are all improved. I find no harshness or other attributes people might associate with "digital". Spatial definition is improved. I am still using the Yammy as a pre-amp for now. So far so good.
 

Matten Logan

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Do you have dimensions on the unit. Because half of that thing is the torodial transformer. I'd like to know what the step up ablility of that thing is. It must weigh a ton!
 

edwinr

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ralflar said:
Edwin,

It is too early to draw conclusions because the amps have been powered up for only such as short time... First impressions: the amps do not "sound" very different from the Yammy RX-V1600 receiver... So far so good.
So far so good, IS good. It's going to take your ears a little while to get used to the new sound, then you will really be able to appreciate what your new amps can do. :)
 

Spike

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Here's my take...

ralflar said:
First impressions: the amps do not "sound" very different from the Yammy RX-V1600 receiver, only better: control, impact, resolution especially of the upper frequencies especially with SACDs are all improved. I find no harshness or other attributes people might associate with "digital". Spatial definition is improved. I am still using the Yammy as a pre-amp for now. So far so good.
Perhaps having the Yammy as the pre-amp is the reason for "not sounding different than the Yammy"... Too often, people underestimate the importance of upstream components like source (digital or analogue), and pre-amplifiers. Once the sonic signature is shaped at the source, the amplifiers can only amplify the signal to drive the speakers. It'll be a good exercise to get another pre-amp in your system to get a better picture of what the amps can do.

Spike
 

ralflar

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Thanks, I hoped someone would say that to confirm my belief. Well, I did buy the VPC2 passive attenuator. The problem with it is that the volume potentiometer seems to have a left/right imbalance at the low volumes I usually listen at night. The stage was shifted to the right. Otherwise the sound clarity seemed to be in an altogether different league. It is hard to tell, though, because of the imbalance. The amps were delivered after 7pm yesterday. By the time I had them set up it was too late for volumes past the 9 position. But I'll try that after work today. The internal VPC2 gain can be reduced by 6dB so that is what I will probably have to do.
 

ralflar

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Matten Logan said:
Do you have dimensions on the unit. Because half of that thing is the torodial transformer. I'd like to know what the step up ablility of that thing is. It must weigh a ton!
Dimensions: 6.25"w x 5.5"h x 8.0"d
Weight: 15 lbs (each)

It can be converted to 230V internally, if that is what you mean by "step up".
 

Joey_V

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I hope u get the imbalance thing worked out. This is the reason why sometimes it's better if CIAudio went with stepped potentiometers instead of a regular pot.
 

DTB300

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ralflar said:
The problem with it is that the volume potentiometer seems to have a left/right imbalance at the low volumes I usually listen at night.
If you think there is an issue, get in contact with Dusty at CIA. He has always been great to deal with when in concerns issues or problems with their equipment.

Dan
 

ralflar

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Dusty suggested to remove two internal jumpers to lower the gain by 6dB. This allows to turn the volume past the 9:00 position without it being too loud, and it really helped. My system is transformed. High frequency detail emerged where none was before. The midrange is impressive but I don't think it is exaggerated. Certain recordings now produce that "big" sound I so like Maggies for. Bass is tight and fast. At first it appeared less deep, but it really only is cleaner and faster. Every aspect has improved.

The upcoming PLC-1 will have a poti without inherent imbalance problems, according to Dusty. I will probably trade up.

I won't be able to post here again until Monday night, due to travel.
 

DTB300

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ralflar said:
Dusty suggested to remove two internal jumpers to lower the gain by 6dB. This allows to turn the volume past the 9:00 position without it being too loud, and it really helped. My system is transformed.
Good to hear CIA is still providing great support along with a great product.

ENJOY!!!!!

Dan
 

JonFo

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Very curious to see how they perform when pushed.

Certain Class D topologies sometimes have issues with flowing enough current.
Also, the fact that it does not double its output with the halving of impedance is a caution for me. I insist on amps that are linear in their reaction to impedance variations.
I’d love to find a good digital amp that delivers 25 or more amps for around $2K.

So far, only the big TacT millennium III seems to have achieved that (but at $10K).
 

ralflar

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Dan,

Thanks, and I do! The incremental but significant improvements continue. Yesterday I rearranged the furniture. Basically I moved the flat panel TV to the side and out of the way - until then it had been located between the Logans - and moved the audio rack into the now vacant space between the speakers. The reflective panel surface is gone and speaker cables are a little shorter. More importantly, it looks much better this way.

One more thing I had to do was to disable that rear tweeters of the Aeon-is. It has become very clear that I must experiment with acoustic room treatments soon.

Before then I shall try the ICEpowered Rotel 1091s however.
 

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